Why DORA Metrics Aren’t Enough: A Better Approach to Engineering Team Productivity

DORA Metrics, or DevOps Research and Assessment metrics, are like measuring sticks used in software development to see how well teams are doing. They look at how fast software is being made and how often it breaks. These metrics are helpful but don’t always tell the whole story.

Going Beyond DORA Metrics

Do you have your own DORA metrics dashboard? Ok, it’s great at pointing out problems, like if there’s a big slowdown in the work process. But here’s the catch: it doesn’t tell you how to fix the problems it finds. It’s like going to the doctor, finding out what’s wrong, but then having to figure out the cure on your own.

That’s where Leanmote comes in. It doesn’t rely just on DORA metrics tools; it looks at team dynamics to get a clearer picture. It gathers data from tools like GitLab and Jira, where developers work on code and track progress. But it doesn’t stop there. It also looks at everyday tools like Slack and Google Calendar to see how teams are communicating and coordinating their work.

Rethinking Metrics and Context

Productivity can’t be measured solely by developers’ productivity tools and surveys. This may not provide a complete understanding of how developers operate, because it’s not all about the coding, it’s the context in which you are working too. What about the chats? What about the project management tools, the assigned tickets, and the number of events on the calendar?

While productivity tools and surveys offer valuable insights, they should be supplemented with a more comprehensive set of metrics to capture the complexities of work. These could be brainstorming meetings or collaborative moments.

In a recent report from Deloitte’s 2024 Global Human Capital Trends, it is highlighted that there is a need to rethink traditional productivity metrics. This report claims that organizations are getting better at tracking how well people work and what makes them perform better. This is because they can collect, measure, and analyze data much faster than before. They can then use machine learning or human judgment to turn this data into useful advice. For example, they can use a method called organizational network analysis to see how people in a company connect and work together.

The ultimate real metrics you need

To gain a holistic view, we consider three critical areas of measurement:

Performance: go from uncertainty about team efficiency to gaining insight through metrics like story points and time duration, allowing us to prioritize tasks, justify delays, and improve quality by addressing issues like bugs and incidents.

Time efficiency: the lack of structure in meetings and time spent hurts workload and efficiency. By tracking time, Leanmote makes alignment visible and finds ways to improve time management.

Connectivity. Internal Connectivity: Not knowing why someone has low pull request activity is a problem. Tracking their merging time and improving team connections boosts productivity.

External Connectivity: Measuring project complexity by stakeholder involvement. Identifying alignment costs, stakeholder numbers in sprints, and commitment levels make project management smoother.

But, (yes, a “but”), it’s not just about setting metrics. It’s about striking the right balance between different aspects to ensure a sustainable and productive development environment. To these, you have to add the counter-metrics, for example:

Performance vs. Connectivity: Workload. If you have many stakeholders, it will impact your workload as you need to align many things.

Performance vs. Time Efficiency: Working beyond regular hours affects productivity. How many meetings are held per sprint?

Delivery vs. Performance: If I know I need to increase deployment frequency but have a heavy workload and many stakeholders, I need to take that into account. DORA tells you what’s happening today but not why. Leanmote tells you why: if the project is more significant if there are many people involved, and many tickets, etc.

Bring Solutions to Your Team Instead of Problems

With all this, Leanmote provides leaders with a clearer understanding of their team’s dynamics. Instead of relying on guesswork or constantly asking the team what’s wrong, leaders can simply check the Delivery Management feature to pinpoint issues.

Going further, Leanmote provides the Team Diagnostics feature and offers quantifiable insights to understand why objectives aren’t being met. Finally, you have LeanOps which helps leaders to craft action plans and take intelligent decisions to solve the problems that are pushing your team back. 

With Leanmote, leaders can confidently make informed decisions, fostering a culture of innovation and collaboration. No more guesswork or blaming; Leanmote empowers leaders to guide their teams to success with reliable and complete data.